Finite relationships

My friend met her ex-boyfriend last week. The one she broke up with a year back. And she said,

Six years I spent with the man. And now, I suddenly don’t feel anything at all. In fact I wonder what I ever saw in him. Has that ever happened to you?

I gave her my usual line of not ever recycling boyfriends. She then asked me,

If one of them ever came back to you, would you be willing to give them another chance?

That’s a hard question to answer. Mainly because I wonder about this giving chances to people. You can give a stranger a chance to show his or her real self to you. The two of you can take a chance together that something might happen that could change both your lives for the better. You can take a chance on friendship, on love, on a job, in business. But you don’t give people chances. You’re not sitting on a golden throne handing out improbable chances like charity to people.

Let me elaborate. Every relationship has its dynamics, its own unique power equation. One person is invariably holds the reins of power, subtly, slightly or in a big way. That person may be the ‘voice’ in the relationship, originating each milestone conversation and event. However, a relationship still is between two people and no matter how mild-mannered, indifferent, subtle or gentle a person is, they bring their own brand of that something to the relationship. If not, the other person could very well be in a relationship with a wall. Or someone else, for that matter.

People part ways for a multitude of reasons, not all bad, unpleasant ones. Sometimes people just grow apart and sometimes….well, we’ve all heard “It wasn’t meant to be” at some point of time. How about the fact that maybe the relationship, short-lived and finite, was the way it was meant to be? And hence prolonging it or trying to turn it into something else is a needless endeavor that is only going to sour an at least nice memory.

When I part ways with a person, either by breaking up a romantic relationship or falling out with a friend or just moving away to other places, other people and other lives….it takes me awhile to adjust to the person not being a part of my life. I’ve come to think of this as the time I’m getting over the habit of the other person. After that, somewhere subtly I realize that I’ve been living and nearly just as complete a life without the person. It is the point where I don’t need the person anymore. If I’m still missing them, then it is the period where I have to start getting over the emotions felt for and shared with them. And sometimes beyond that, there’s still something empty….that’s really the toughest bit….getting over the concept of the other person….which I suppose never does happen since it involves erasing a never-to-be-forgotten memory. After all if the person’s impact on you has lasted this far, it has to be an unforgettable memory. It is fortunate and also probably unfortunate that such memories are far and few in a person’s life.

Once I’ve gotten over needing a person, I find I’m inertiatic about making or even maintaining contact with them. It isn’t so much bitterness…it’s probably a mix of laziness and complacent arrogance. I mean….I don’t need him/her to be happy so why should I call/mail/talk? With me, it really is over when its over.

In most cases, I don’t have an active problem with a person I don’t need but well….it just seems like a waste, especially if I’ve found that I also don’t have much in common with them or anything interesting to talk about. In my mind, it just keeps my life clean. People and relationships take time and effort. I have enough of people in my over-cluttered life without having to think of the luxury of maintaining relationships that have outlived their purpose.

I’ve been accused of being ruthless, of getting over people ‘too quickly’. And alternately of also being too bitter. I don’t know. All I can see is, time and life move forward. And I have to as well. I have no more choice in the matter than I have of granting people chances. Life is after all, an experience to be shared with some, not a prized possession to be handed over to the winner.

7 thoughts on “Finite relationships

  1. Hey, I have been a regular reader for quite some time, and I have often disagreed with you, so haven’t commented so far.
    But this post has been different. I completely agree with you.
    I know that ‘mix of laziness and complacent arrogance’ you talk of.
    Thanks for writing about this so lucidly.

  2. @ Dev: Hi Dev, thank you for speaking up. I’m guessing you disagreed with my earlier ‘male-bashing’ posts. Hereforth I plan to write more realistically and less cathartically. That means a more balanced point of view….hope that won’t be too boring. And I hope I’ll hear your thoughts on the posts again!

  3. Hi! Your mail is on a subject that one would find hard to stomach without voicing an opinion.. so here goes mine 🙂 I think your writing was excellent, but I disagree with your point on not keeping in touch. It works for exes, but friends and acquaintances, no it doesn’t! Also with a relationship ‘that was not meant to be’.. no relationship is meant-to-be unless the partners work hard towards creating it. A relationship, IMHO, falls apart only when one of the two partners values something(maybe independence)/someone (else) over the existing partner, or finds the existing partners’ habits impossible. So nothing ‘happens’, we ‘make’ it happen. …phew!

  4. its a borrowed life, borrowed relationships. whetever happened to happily ever afters?? maybe it has something to do with the freedom of speech granted to women.

  5. I had an experience like your friend couple of weeks back and wrote about it. I don’t think I can re-work an old, dead romantic one (I have re-worked friendships) but with a new relationship, a new person I am always so very optimistic that at times I land on the wrong side of the bay!

  6. o! how i wish i could have definite relationships. with a proper start and end point. but sadly, i linger on them a little too much…

    ” It is the point where I don’t need the person anymore. If I’m still missing them, then it is the period where I have to start getting over the emotions felt for and shared with them. ”

    relationships are never the same. and if they remain the same, it is a compromise. i respect people who know and help a relationship reach a meaningful end…

    1. @Aham: I guess it comes with maturity. Sadly there are too many people who care more for the impression they make than what relationships (and other people) need.

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